Review for Famous Dogs: Changing History One Dog (& Cat) at a Time
Writing a good book lies in the eye of the reader. Pat McGrath Avery has brought to me the reviewer a good book. In fact it is an excellent book. Her writing is very direct as she also uses the efforts of our imaginary co-author Luke the Reporter Dog in describing these stories. In fact Luke reminds me of Duke the dog trying to tell the secret recipe of Bush Beans commercials. And so it goes.
The author takes new and old stories of canine and oh yes one cat story and their relationships to the human genre. The book is short and simple and did I mention very excellent and compelling. This compilation of short canine and oh yes one cat story tells the true story of man’s relationship to dog-dom and oh yes cat-dom!!
Very well told and highly recommended to any dog and oh yes cat lover!!
Reviewed by: Dick Geschke (2013)
Review for Windshift by Joyce Faulkner
Alma H. Bond, Ph.D. Reviewer
Windshift, by Joyce Faulkner, is a book of interest to all women, but is a particularly gift to those such as your reviewer who served in the military. The book is the story of four women who served in Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) during World War 11 and pays tribute to the brave pioneering spirit of these pilots. I was absorbed in the book from beginning to end, and know of no other book that depicts so accurately what it was like to serve in a woman's branch of the service.
The book is particularly good at stressing the stereotypes of the day, and makes us see how many of them still exist in the present. For example, "We are changing things," Mags says. "The war is changing things. That scares folks. Scared people are angry. Let's face it, a lot of the fellows....wanted to be transferred. They didn't even know us. They were just trying to protect their way of life, where the rules make sense to them."
"Where the rules favor them," Delores murmured.
"Well, sure. That's why they are scared" (p. 151.)
Along similar lines, Shirley wisely says, "We were also in a new world, where men and women no longer knew what to expect of one another" (p. 112).
Faulkner brings alive the characters of Shirley, Emmie, Dolores, and Mags as fully as if they were our next door neighbors. The characterizations are particularly well done and differ greatly from each other, so that it is impossible ever to mistake one of the women pilots for another. We have our favorites and those who annoy us, just as in real life. We thrill at their successes and grieve at their losses, whether it be a tiny dog or a beloved comrade. Best of all, the book grandly sweeps us up into the skies as if we too were members of WASP.
There are many moving episodes in the book. I particularly enjoyed the description of how the compulsive Shirley who apparently was afraid of dogs, got to like the tiny Señor (p.102).
"He wiggled over and put his chin on her foot."
"'Go on, pet him,' Emmie whispered."
"Shirley caressed his back with trembling fingers." He struggled down and she caressed him again. Her nose burned and her eyes filled- 'He likes me,' she said in wonder."
There is an interesting description of how a single young woman was enticed to become pregnant and the terrible price she had to pay, which is of historical interest to those young people who have no idea of how greatly times have changed in regard to what was called "illegitimate" children not so long ago (p. 107).
Windshift, by Joyce Faulkner, is an original, fascinating window into the experiences of female pilots in World War 11. For those women who served at the time, it will bring back many memories, some happy, and some unpleasant, mainly of the difficulties of the blatant sexism experienced in a service consisting largely of men. For younger people, the book is of historical significance into a time when women had to struggle in a man's world to simply stay afloat. Windswept is also a novel and delightful expansion of our knowledge about a long departed service.
I highly recommend this book to all women veterans of the military in World War 11, and to our younger colleagues who wish to know what it was like to be a pioneer servicewoman so many years ago. It is also recommended to all people, men and women, young and old, who simply a enjoy a good read.